August 07, 2020

Toomey and Hassan Working to Make it Easier to Obtain PPE

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) are teaming up to make it easier for Americans to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) that is critical in the fight against COVID-19.

The pair is introducing two bipartisan bills that aim to address persistent nationwide shortages by temporarily cutting taxes on imported PPE, requiring interagency coordination around domestic PPE supply, and directing the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to regularly update its current list of medical products needed to fight COVID-19.

"There are still shortages of PPE across the country and our national stockpile needs to be replenished," said Senator Toomey. "Our legislation eliminates roadblocks in the global supply chain that are making it harder and more expensive to obtain PPE and testing kits vital for keeping Americans safe. I thank Senator Hassan for working with me on these bills and I hope other senators will join this worthwhile effort."

"We're more than six months into this pandemic, and I continue to hear from New Hampshire business owners, school leaders, health care providers, and others who are concerned about access to personal protective equipment that they need to stay safe and protect people's lives as this pandemic continues," Senator Hassan said. "These bipartisan bills will take commonsense steps to eliminate some of the barriers that have made it more difficult and expensive for the U.S. to obtain critical PPE and medical equipment. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join Senator Toomey and me in supporting this legislation."

Background

Stop PPE Taxes Act

  • After a bipartisan request from Congress, the ITC released a report listing out which goods are needed for our country to respond to the COVID crisis.
  • Many states are seeing shortages of these PPE products and medical equipment on the list. Yet, many of these products - like N95 masks, protective garments, and components of diagnostic testing kits - cost more than they should due to persistent tariffs. America's medical providers, businesses, and citizens need immediate solutions to address these shortages in order to combat COVID.
  • The Stop PPE Taxes Act temporarily suspends all 301 tariffs on the ITC's current list of medical products needed to fight COVID-19 through 2022.
  • Better enables organizations experiencing shortages of medical equipment to have access to the PPE they need to fight COVID and keep Americans safe.
  • Full text is available here.

 

Strategic Global Supply Chains Act

  • Through 2022, the ITC shall regularly make available to the public a report that identifies articles that may be needed to respond to COVID-19.
  • Each report shall provide, for each of the identified articles:
    • HTS code, product description, duty rate, major country of origin, and import value.
  • The U.S. Trade Representative shall consult with HHS, FEMA, and DOD on trade policy affecting domestic supply of COVID-related products identified by the ITC
  • Full text is available here.